You might remember that I got in trouble in the past for saying what I thought about some cuts to Michigan’s State Budget in early 2009. And that was NOTHING compared to what’s about to happen.

It appears the state of Michigan is about to lead the nation…in dropping all its Extension Service funding.  It would become the ONLY state to not have Extension.

For someone who works in Agriculture, this is just…


That’s the only word I can come up with.

This isn’t about just ending consulting services to farmers. Michigan Extension runs the Economic Development Programs for many counties. They run breastfeeding workshops and the state’s supplemental nutrition programs.  They train childcare providers.

They do a lot of really important stuff that we need when the state’s employment rate is the highest in the nation.

A few bullet points from an official MSU website:

  • Every county, every legislative district, will be affected by the elimination of MAES and MSUE funding. These are outreach programs that make a significant impact on people’s lives. From babies to seniors, urban, suburban or rural, people of all communities will feel the impact.
  • 236,000 Michigan youth and 27,000 volunteers would face the elimination of 4-H programming, making Michigan the only state without 4-H youth development programming.
  • In 2008, MAES and MSUE funds generated a total economic impact for the State of Michigan of $1.062 billion. This would be gone. For every $1 provided by the state, MAES and MSUE generate another $2.33 for research and extension work in Michigan. This income would be lost, with much of it going to other states.

If you have a story to tell about how you have benefited from Michigan Extension, the Michigan Experiment Station System, or other related parts of MSU, please contact your legislators ASAP!

Michigan House of Representatives
Contact your Representative

Michigan Senate
Contact your Senator

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm
Office of the State Budget

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Bug, I’m so sorry to hear this. I used to work for the Ohio Extension (in 4-H), so I know what you’re talking about … hope it doesn’t come to pass. :(

  2. Thanks Jen. I hope that this will eventually show more people in the state that a lot of services they take for granted actually come from extension. It’s not just about corn and cows.

    If that happens and we save MAES, it will have been worth the freak out.

    Well, mostly.

  3. After reading this I had to reach out and tell you just how terrible I feel not only for you but for the citizens of the state of MI.
    Missouri’s MDC have made cutback, eliminating 134 positions state wide, many of them in outreach and education. When the naturalist position was eliminated from the Northwest region of Missouri I was so angry at the senselessness of it all! I contacted as many people as I could that would feel the impact from the absence of this position, and the lasting consequences it would have on the community. Many letters were sent, and consequently they have agreed to leave the position open in a part time capacity and I may be the one they offer it to. So speaking out does make a difference, even when you think your voice doesn’t count. I hope the citizens pull together across the state of MI and let the powers that be know they WILL NOT stand for this injustice! I hope and pray that it all works out. I work with 4H children, teaching entomology workshops, and know first hand that these children learn so much from their time spent within this wonderful youth organization. People of Michigan I urge you to call your representatives, and anyone else in a position of power to make a difference. Best of luck to you Buglady!

  4. Wrote my letters this AM. For those who want to poach off some of what I wrote, here is the portion of the text that didn’t include my own personalization. Salt to taste. Lots of great background here:

    Dear Rep, Sen, Gov…

    I am very concerned about the recent withholding of funds from the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station system and MSU Extension programs. The funding received under the continuation budget for October apparently contained no funding for MAES and MSUE, raising the possibility that Gov. Granholm will use her line-item veto to eliminate funding to these programs.

    I am completely supportive of the critical work done by MAES and MSUE. This not only includes a wide range of agricultural research and services, but also research into bioenergy, fisheries, and forestry; community and economic development; and initiatives such as 4-H, Michigan Sea Grant, and Master Gardeners.

    Besides the impact of a direct loss of over 3,000 jobs, these programs conduct research, development and education for Michigan’s emerging ‘green’ economy. Michigan’s future is in this direction, as the governor so often tell us. Cutting funding to these programs flies in the face of this logic.

    Please see to it that funding for these important programs is not cut. Michigan can’t do without them.

  5. Also tweeted @RRBO

  6. Thanks! Very nice letter :)

  7. Wow….the extension agencies have always been such a good resource. I can’t believe they’re being cut, and I hope they hang on.

  8. I am so sorry to hear about this. To cut such an important department as Extension is a sin! I hope that things work out for you!

  9. I’m appalled … they cut state parks funding, which is penny-wise-pound-foolish when you realise that tourism is still a [potentially] good source of income for Michigan, and now this? They don’t really realise that Extension is a part of the state’s social and economic infrastructure system, do they? I mean holy cows, agriculture is one of the remaining non-rustbelt industries!


  10. You should take all these comments and send them in to show how many people EVERYWHERE are reacting to this news, and will be impacted by the decision to eliminate the Cooperative Extension Service. This is just simply embarrassing, akin to the legislation in Kansas concerning evolution and creationism. Is that the kind of reputation that Michigan wants? Of course not. Extension agents help people across the entire GLOBE because they are literally and figuratively plugged into networks of other professionals, trading ideas and helping each other in myriad ways. No state can afford to essentially operate in a social, economic, or scientific vacuum, but that is what is going to happen if they don’t see the error of their ways. I may put this on my own blog to get you further support. You have my best wishes for getting a retraction of this legislation.

  11. Here is the link that MAES/MSUE has provided and asked people to post on their blogs and webpages and suchlike in order to connect to their “How to Help Page”. Maybe someone who knows more html than I do could post it here.


    Sorry for previous scramble. Here’s the page.

  13. This is horrible and embarassing! I emailed our Agriculture Commissioner in WV this morning asking him to address this in his monthly column. He is so proactive, though, he probably already knew. I also linked my friends to your blog. Good luck in the fight.

  14. Thanks everyone! The sad thing is–even if the Governor doesn’t carry out her veto, or if she is overridden by the legislature–our best case scenario is a 44% cut. And THAT will be filled in by Stimulus money…so we will do this all over again in Fall 2010.


    Bug Girl needs a new job :(

  15. natalieebigscott October 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks for your interest and comments on this issue, Bug Girl! More information about the programs in question is available here.

  16. I used to do extension work with Peace Corps in Paraguay, one of the poorest countries on a poor continent, and even they had a large and active extension program. That Michigan would fall behind Paraguay is simply embarrassing.

  17. But with what money should they carry on? Michigan is devastated, and the warning signs were there long before they emerged in other parts of the country. This is economic crisis; be realistic! Administrators should move to find private or corporate donors rather than demanding public funds that have already been squandered (or at least call up GM to siphon some of that bailout money).

  18. If you call a more than double return on investment dollars “squandered”, then you should get me to manage your 401K.

  19. Would this not violate Morrill? What will this do to MSU’s funding?

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